Best Management Practices (BMPs) Definitions

Animal Waste Storage Structure: Stores liquid, slurry, or solid manure until conditions are right for field application.

Conservation Tillage: No-till or Conservation Tillage is when most of the crop residue is left on the surface of the field after harvesting. The soil is left undisturbed before planting. At the time of planting, disturbance is limited to opening a slot and placing seed.

Cover Crops: Growing annual plants during seasons when fields are usually fallow. Management and species selection allow tailoring cover crop benefits, including erosion control, excess nutrient uptake, increased soil nutrients and organic matter, and weed suppression. Small grain crops such as cereal rye, oats, and winter wheat are planted in early fall to help protect fields from erosion during the winter months.

Critical area Planting: Planting grass or other vegetation to protect a severely eroding area from soil erosion.

Crop Residue Management: Leaving residue from the previous crop on the soil surface for a specific period of time by reducing tillage.

Diversion: A long earthen embankment built across the slope to direct runoff water from a specific area.

Fencing: A physical barrier to control animal movement, including keeping livestock out of streams or dividing pastures to allow rotational grazing. The use of fencing can decrease erosion, improve water quality, and evenly distribute nutrients in pastures.

Field Borders: Strips of grass around the edges of field that can provide wildlife habitat, trap field runoff, or provide a buffer for insecticidal spray drift.

Filter Strips: Strips of grass used to trap field runoff containing sediment, pesticides, and other pollutants. Filter strips are located at the lower edges of fields.

Grade Stabilization Structure: A structure that controls gully erosion by collecting and safely transporting water down slope.

Grassed Waterway: A natural or manmade channel that is planted in grass to control gully erosion caused by concentrated water runoff from surrounding crop fields.

Heavy Use Area Protection: Stabilizing areas that are disturbed because of frequent and intensive use by livestock or farm equipment.  




Irrigation Management: The process of determining and controlling the volume, frequency and application rate of irrigation water in a planned, efficient manner.

Lined Waterways/Outlets: A waterway or outlet having an erosion-resistant lining of concrete, stone, synthetic turf reinforcement fabrics or other permanent materials.

Nutrient Management: Applying the correct amount and form of plant nutrients to achieve realistic crop yield goals while minimizing the movement of nutrients into surface waters and groundwater.

Pasture and Hayland Planting: The proper management and treatment of pasture and hay stands for maximum forage production.

Prescribed Grazing: Managing grazing by rotating livestock through paddocks to control forage grazing heights and grazing rest periods. Benefits include increased forage quality and quantity, decreased pasture erosion, and the even distribution of nutrients in pastures.

Riparian Buffers: Trees, shrubs or grasses planted next to waterways including rivers, streams and drainage ditches filter runoff, improve water quality, protect the soil from erosion and provide wildlife habitat.

Roof Runoff Management: Collecting, controlling, and disposing of runoff from barn roofs to minimize erosion.

Shallow Water Wildlife Areas: Impoundments of shallow water that usually go dry during the summer months providing habitat and food primarily for wading birds and some type of waterfowl.

Spring Developments: Collecting, storing, and sometimes transporting spring water to provide water for livestock, usually as an alternative to surface water such as streams or ponds.

Stream Crossing: Controlled access for livestock and/or equipment to cross a stream to reduce erosion and the amount of sediment and nutrients entering the stream.

Terrace: An earthen ridge around a hillside that stops water flow and stores or guides water safely off a field.

Watering Facility: A system of troughs and water lines to provide livestock with water from a spring, pond, well or other source.

Water Well: Drilling of a well to provide water to troughs installed as an alternative livestock water source to surface water, or to improve a grazing system.

Wetland Restoration: Restoring the water and plant community in a former or degraded wetland to improve water quality and provide wildlife habitat.

Wildlife Habitat Enhancement: Practices to develop, improve or maintain habitats for desirable wildlife.

Farm Practices of Calvert County Photo Gallery